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The Burlingame B

The Student News Site of Burlingame High School

The Burlingame B

The Student News Site of Burlingame High School

The Burlingame B

Long-awaited town square finally coming to Burlingame

A+rendering+of+the+view+of+the+town+square+from+Park+Road+showcases+the+potential+for+a+modern+community+space.
Photo courtesy of SWA Group
A rendering of the view of the town square from Park Road showcases the potential for a modern community space.

For almost 20 years, discussions have echoed throughout city hall regarding the construction of a new town square for downtown Burlingame. It’s been a long wait, but the town square will finally come to Burlingame by the end of 2024.

In 2019, after numerous efforts to get the project started, the city of Burlingame began collaborations with landscape architecture firm SWA Group (SWA) to design and plan the town square. The construction will start in the spring of 2024 and is expected to take between nine and 10 months to complete.

The square will be constructed in the city-owned Parking Lot E beside Burlingame Avenue and between Lorton Avenue and Park Road. It will be adjacent to a new office building on that property that is currently undergoing construction.

“It’s exciting that this had been a parking lot, and to turn a parking lot into a town square, I think the downtown has needed an amenity like that,” Community Development Manager Kevin Gardiner said. “This will be something that generations of people in Burlingame will enjoy.”

The town square will have two sections. The first section (alongside Lorton Avenue) will be a grove of trees with abundant lounge seating and tables underneath. There will also be stadium seating lined along the office building. 

“It would be comfortable and attractive for a dozen people, but the capacity might be up to 200 people,” SWA Group Principal Marco Esposito said. “There’s a certain choice of intimacy, meaning that it doesn’t feel vast or foreboding.” 

The second half (alongside Park Road) will be an open area for socializing, games and other functions.

A blueprint of the town square’s design lays out plans for green spaces and communal gathering areas.

“One of the things that we’ve drawn is to put some outdoor ping-pong tables, foosball tables, cornhole, and things like that into the more social part of the square,” Esposito said. 

The city also plans to hold events at the square for holidays or other special occasions and even intends to include a bandstand for live music performances.

“We have an area designated for a holiday tree and the area towards Park Road does not have a lot of things in it on purpose,” Gardiner said. “If there’s performances, it’s ready to go for any kind of event like that.”

As the construction approaches, the city is working towards gathering the appropriate funds to finance the project, which is estimated to cost between $6 and $8 million.

“It’s a lot, but on the other hand it will be a central gathering place for the city for the next hundred years, “ Burlingame Mayor Michael Brownrigg said. “The state of California has contributed funds, the US Congress has contributed funds, so we are slowly gathering the resources to pay for this.”

Brownrigg emphasized the benefits of the town square not only for downtown Burlingame but for the city as a whole.

“We feel that [the town square] is really important for us to create more housing, we’ll be cutting the ribbon in just a few days on 132 units of affordable housing very near the town square.” Brownrigg said. “It’s also part of a larger plan to allow more density and to make sure we have great open space along with it.”

In 2021, the city sent out a survey to gather public opinions about the town square, and received a vast number of positive responses from community members.

“To be so close to our high school and our train station, I think it’s going to be a super resource for the whole community, “ Brownrigg said. “I’m really excited. I’ve been pushing for this for a long time.”

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Will Kriner, Senior Reporter
Will Kriner is a junior at BHS, and this is his second year in Journalism. He is eager to further improve his writing skills this year by writing articles for the Burlingame B and working with his peers. Outside of school, he enjoys listening to music, playing basketball, watching TV shows, and hanging out with his friends.
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